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Combine harvesting a field of grain.

Improving Data Quality

It is widely accepted that the present system of collecting agricultural injury data has many weaknesses. Presently there are fewer than 20 states that maintain and make available farm fatality data for analysis. The use of encoded data from death certificates used at the national level has major shortfalls, with nearly one-third of the cases not clearly indicating the agent involved or cause of death.

For a period of more than 25 years, the Indiana Department of Health and Purdue cooperatively worked together to identify reports of farm-related deaths and suicides involving Indiana "farm residents." These data have been analyzed and reported in several fashions. Two recent studies have looked at farm-related deaths involving those under 15 and those over 60. In addition, a statewide clipping service has been utilized in identifying fatal and non-fatal farm injuries reported through the press. In 1985, M.A. Purschwitz, now at National Farm Medicine Center, undertook a graduate study to evaluate various methods of collecting and handling agricultural fatality and injury data. This work contributed to the development of the ASAE Farm and Agricultural Injury Classification (FAIC) Code. Presently, over 14,000 farm-related fatality and severe injury cases have been assembled and catalogued from all 50 states with regular updates. These data have been used to conduct a comparative study of farm-related fatalities involving children in Indiana and Wisconsin, a study of children suffocated in grain transport vehicles, an investigation of on-farm grain storage entrapments, and studies of PTO-related injuries and manure pit entrapments.

National databases are presently maintained and being expanded on incidents involving agricultural grain storage entrapments, PTO-related injuries, manure storage and handling facilities, and farm-related injuries in Amish and Old-Order communities.

Last updated: 07-Dec-2011 3:17 PM